Michelin-starred celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna.









The cuisine of India is enormously diverse, influenced by geographic location, religion, and immigration.  Hinduism has resulted in vegetarianism, whereas Muslim food incorporates beef but no pork.  The diverse climate, ranging from tropical to mountainous, produces a wide array of local ingredients, and as a result Indian cuisine uses vast amounts of spices.  In hot weather, spices such as chili peppers and garlic help the body to sweat and cool down, whereas in colder weather spices such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg work to keep the body warm.


Although there are four main regions of Indian cooking, most dishes are cooked in a similar fashion, beginning with the frying of an onion, ginger, garlic or other spices. Meat or vegetables and more spices are added, and the food is simmered at a low heat.  North Indian food uses a wide array of dairy products:  milk, paneer (a type of cheese), ghee (clarified butter) and yogurt.  Here flat breads such as roti and paratha are baked on a grill called a tawa, and a tandoor (clay oven) is used to prepare main courses such as chicken and fish. The food of southern India is very spicy, and rice is a staple of the diet.  The eastern part of the country specializes in chili curries, and western Indian food emphasizes seafood and coconut.  In addition to regional specialties, each Indian city has different kinds of street food!


Indians typically eat several small meals a day.  Chai (tea) and a salty snack follow prayers at dawn.  A few hours later, breakfast is eaten.  Lunch usually consists of one or two vegetable dishes, rice and chapati (flatbread), sometimes brought in containers called tiffins. An afternoon snack tides Indians over until dinner, which is served late.  Often a cup of hot milk, flavoured with sugar and cardamom, is consumed before bed time.


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